Climate Change Past and Present
As our oceans warm, and become increasingly acidic and less oxygenated, it is imperative to understand how the changes we observe today compare to those in the Earth’s past. The goal of my research is to connect the past and present of climate change. Ongoing projects focus on rapid climate change in the Pacific, both along the modern California Margin as well as through the last deglaciation across the North Pacific.
Seasonality of Foraminiferal Abundances and Geochemistry
One of the best sources of information about past climates is the marine fossil record. In particular, the shells of foraminifera, a single-celled marine organism, represent one of the most widely used proxies for past environments, while simultaneously contributing to global carbon cycling. Understanding how these creatures respond to their environment in the modern ocean is essential for a robust interpretation of their fossil record. As both a Ph.D. and a M.Sc. student, I looked specifically at size and weight changes of calcifying organisms in response to environmental variability (primarily oxygen, temperature and carbonate chemistry) on time scales from decadal to millennial. This interest in understanding the fossil record of marine climate change has continued. More recently, I have been involved in several projects that document the response of species assemblages to inter-annual and decadal-scale oceanographic variability. I am also interested in using modern systems to understand how interrelated environmental influences are recorded in the geochemistry of foraminifera shells.
Laboratory Culture of Foraminifera
Laboratory culture of foraminifera has served as an important link for validation of hypotheses developed both from the modern ocean and the sediment record. I have been extensively involved in laboratory culture of planktic foraminifera at several field sites. Through this work, I seek to expand current understanding of the relationships between the geochemistry of foraminiferal shells, temperature and pH with specific focus on conditions applicable to understanding high latitudes and upwelling regimes. Laboratory culture of foraminifera has also resulted in important insights into the life history, biology, and physiology of important foraminiferal groups.